Moorad Buys Padres

It’s official: Jeff Moorad’s group is purchasing the Padres. Once the deal is finalized, Sandy Alderson will leave the organization.

Moorad will take over for John Moores, who bought the Padres in December 1994, rescuing the team from Tom Werner’s wave of destruction. Although taking shots at Moores is arguably more popular than baseball around these parts, the Padres did much of their best work under his watch:

With or Without Moores
  Seasons .500+ Playoffs
1969-1994 26 89 1
1995-2008 14 6 4

We’ll see what Moorad and company bring to the table. If they can duplicate what Moores has accomplished, I’ll be happy. Bonus points if they can talk folks into believing in the team while they’re doing it.

Anyway, enjoy the euphoria of renewed hope while it lasts. And don’t be too bummed when the new guy turns out to be a lot like the old guy. That’s just the way the world works.

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35 Responses »

  1. Happy to hear it’s done, or will be done over the next few years, but I’m disappointed Alderson is leaving. Still, it will be interesting.

  2. Alderson leaving is no surprise. Moorad wants to act as the CEO. It really has nothing to do with Alderson’s abilities, which were substantial, or his weaknesses, which were basically limited to public relations and marketing. In an alternate universe where Moores wasn’t getting divorced, they’d have turned the public affairs part of the job over to somebody else and have Alderson concentrate on running the organization as efficiently as possible.

    I hope Towers and DePodesta, plus the analytic group, stay on. Fuson’s done a passable job in the draft, but other people can do a passable job. Does AJ Hinch come over for a year or two with an eye toward replacing Towers?

    A weird, disheartening week for the Padres. The best owner in team history (despite his shortcomings) is on his way out, we’re losing one of the smartest front office minds around, and sobering reviews of our prospects keep piling up.

    How soon before the average fan turns on Moorad?

  3. 2. It’s hard for me to see this as a disheartening week. Yeah, Moores was good for the Padres overall, but — premised on one bad season — cutting the operating budget to an unacceptable level for a major league team, dumping a popular homegrown shortstop with no replacement lined up… it’s a relief that this transition is underway so quickly.

    Moores and Alderson were okay, but I’m not terribly sentimental about losing them. Bye fellas, don’t let the doors at Petco hit you in the butt on the way out.

  4. I cross-posted this at Gaslamp Ball, but I think it’s worth getting your take on it here:

    I think that strictly from a PR perspective, this move is a net win for the franchise. Alderson, who had earned the ire of many casual fans around the city, will be moving on. With Moorad as the CEO (and potentially co-owner of the team for the time being), the team can act like it will be turning a corner.

    But here’s the key: The Padres need to do something to show the fans that a new guard is being ushered in. And rather than some ludicrous free agent signing, I have a simple suggestion:

    Lower beer prices

    This seems like a stupid move, but when Arte Moreno bought the Angels and lowered beer prices, he was lauded as a genius. It builds a ridiculous amount of goodwill to do something so simple. It probably doesn’t affect the team’s bottom line that much (much less than say, signing a Manny Ramirez or some other over-the-top player acquisition) and it signifies that a change has occurred. Coupled with the withering economy, it makes the Padres really seem like they’re tuned-in to fan issues.

  5. This is good news. Moores was the best owner in Padres history (perhaps not saying much) but the contentious divorce has obviously left the team in disarray. If nothing else, this moves us to the next stage. A better stage? Could hardly be worse.

  6. #4@Phantom: Agree on both counts. There may be enough disillusioned fans to make a real impact if they believe a corner has been turned. Beer and other concession prices are huge profit centers, but volume can help make up for per-unit prices.

  7. #4@Phantom:
    “Lower beer prices”

    According to the “Price of Beer/Wins” scale: For every 1% that you drop the price of beer, you gain the equivalent good will of winning 1 more game.

  8. In response to the With Or Without Moores chart:
    It is probably unfair to group the first ten years of an expansion team in with the the following 16 years. There are exceptions, but those first 8-10 years are usually throwaway years. 1978-80 through 1994 is probably a better assessment.
    Also, Moores took over the team right when the extra divisions were created, along with the expanded playoff format. Most teams have had more playoff appearances since 1995 simply because there are more playoff spots available.
    I am not saying this to criticize Moores. I just think the chart is very skewed and misleading.

  9. FJ blog ( had this link …

    Minority owner Glenn Doshay has an insider’s perspective. …

    … can’t say I’ve ever heard of Glenn Doshay … sounds like a good guy to have had in the ownership group! Don’t we all wish we could do what he’s done?

    GY … any chance you’d be interested to interview this guy? I bet it’d be very fun!

  10. This does nothing to alleviate my Padre blahs. I’m pretty bummed to see SA go. Obviously, he had a translation problem with some (many?) of the fans, especially those who call in to sports radio and post comments on SignOnSD. I don’t want to see an ownership/FO style employed here that would please those imbeciles, er, people.

    That said, here are two changes I would like to see.
    *A drafting philosophy like the one espoused by Mr. Waits
    *Complete revamping of food service at Petco. It’s the worst aspect of the park, still, IMO.

  11. I am bummed that Alderson is gone. His loss will hurt, as I felt he tempered a lot of KT’s wanderings. KT has his strengths, and Alderson did a great job at minimizing his weaknesses. I am a firm believer in having as many smart people around as possible. I find it hard to believe that Moorad is smarter than Alderson, so a net loss.

    That being said, I am overjoyed at the fact that the sale went so quickly. I greatly feared a long drawn out process (see Cubs), that would keep the franchise in the state of disarray that it currently is in.

    I also am not convinced by the doom and gloom that Baseball America is pushing for the Padres minor leaguers. I think the strength of the minors is something that BA misses, that being, amazing depth. We have hitters, hitters and more hitters. Some of them will pan out, some won’t. It is a numbers game, and the more you have, the more will come through. Pitching is a bit more suspect, but that is mainly due to the injuries to Schmidt and Carrillo. If those two are back and as good as before, with the addition of Bush to the mix, we actually have some pitching depth as well.

  12. I wonder what effect this will really have on the team. Moorad is only buying about one-third of the team with the rest to follow over the next five years. Moores thinks he will stay the “owner” for the next three years. Does that mean that they will be frugal for the next three years? Or does getting 1/3 of the Padres value (estimated to be around $400m) give him enough cash to pay off his ex-wife and he will be able to open the purse-strings a bit?

  13. #2@Tom Waits: Not sure this week really qualifies as “disheartening”. At worst it’s just different. Alderson is gone, replaced by a guy with a much shorter track record but a fair amount of success himself (albeit nowhere near the success Sandy had 15-20 years ago). But lets face it – Alderson had improved our overall organization, but not in the leaps and bounds that were expected by many. The farm system is still fairly weak. Our drafts haven’t been great. And the team has a serious problem relating to the public. I don’t know why you would be so disheartened about a change at the top when the Padres need to improve in so many areas.

    Now being disheartened about the prospects – that’s a different story.

  14. I imagine this will be a case of “meet the new boss, same as the old boss,” if Towers and DePodesta stay. Which is not a bad thing. I am hopeful that this could lead to some increased investment in the draft. Arizona was willing to spend big money to sign Justin Upton, Drew, and Scherzer, and they weren’t scared away by Boras. Hopefully that mindset will come with Moorad to San Diego.

    Goodbye, John Moores. ’98 was awesome.

  15. Bummed to see Sandy leave. Hopefully that does not mean DePodesta is out as well. We have a good front office. I like the lower beer prices idea, though I live in SF, so hope the Giants follow suit. This seems very squarely in the “Wait and see” category.

  16. Hey guys! Long time no blog. Life has been crazy and I needed some time away after last season but I’m getting back in the swing of things.

    I’ll be a little sad to see Alderson go because before the Moores’ divorce situation I think his vision for the organization was headed in right direction. I think ultimately SA will take the bullet as a bad CEO at least from the casual fans point of view but he should be credited with cleaning out the crap and giving the organization a direction and a great foundation. He and KT were definitely left out to dry when the Moores decided to split and the payroll was subsequently cut. We would have probably had in the area of 30-40 Million to spend this offseason had the payroll been kept around the same number as previous years. Obviously they would have had to spend that money the right way but a couple of legit starting pitchers and a slugger might have helped this team a lot.

    Either way I’m still pretty amped the Moorad is getting the team. I like the emphasis on drafting top talent that the D-Backs have had over the past few years. I can’t imagine Moorad passing on guys like Porcello or Main had he had the chance to take them where we were drafting. Under his leadership Arizona acquired guys like Justin Upton, Stephen Drew, Max Scherzer, Jarrod Parker, Carlos Gonzalez, Conner Jackson and Carlos Quinten. I would love to see the Padres target talented young guys like that instead of what seemed to me as them putting more emphasis on things like pitchability and signability.

    Basically, I feel bad for SA because I do feel like he had the Padres headed in the direction of organizational success but I am still pretty excited about Moorad because he has said that he believes in building through the draft and has a pretty good track record of doing that.

  17. I think the 4 playoffs versus 1 for the pre-Moores Padres doesn’t mean anything. The rules changed and the divisions were realigned and there would be 0 playoffs under Moores under the old system. Of course they can only do with what they got, but I can’t really say the team was any better with Moores than before him.

    I also disagree that Moores was the best owner in Padres history. Ray Kroc did way more for the team and town than Moores ever did.

  18. #10@Stephen: Thanks, brother.

    #11@Dan: We really don’t have all that many hitters. A ton of the supposed depth is either average bats (Sogard, Cumberland, Huffman etc.) and/or was just drafted in 2008, which means some of them will disappear. Average bats don’t separate you from the competition. BA may be underrating our depth somewhat, but that was a massive slap in the face. Even if we’d been 20th on their list, that’s not good, not after 4 years of a supposedly improved draft process.

    #13@BigWorm: It’s my heart, not yours.

    #16@krs1: It would have been a great year to bargain shop. 20 million, taking us well below last year’s payroll, could have put Randy Johnson and Brad Penny in the rotation and let us hold onto Greene.

  19. For all the people trying to downplay the results of 4 playoff appearances vs. one… How many of those appearances were via the wild card? Oh, right… none. You play the schedule you are given and if you are the best in your division, you are the best in your division. Period.

    Think the “well, they wouldn’t have even made the playoffs in this other division” argument bears a lot of wieght? Discuss it with an Indianapolis Colt fan. *nods*

    Personally, I agree with the love for Ray Kroc, but this team has had more success under JM than under any other owner. This is a fact.

    Sorry to see Sandy go. I believe you can never have too many good minds in your organization. It is as silly as saying you can have too much pitching.

  20. #4@Phantom: Lower beer prices? Sure, why not. Seems to be the type of change a lot of folks want. It’s a nice bone to throw, at a time when the organization needs to throw bones.

    #8@parlo: That’s cutting the Padres too much slack for ineptitude at the beginning of their existence. The Royals, who came into MLB at the same time, had established themselves as one of the best franchises in baseball by 1978. That year, when the Pads reached .500 for the first time in franchise history, KC was breaking 90 wins for the fourth straight season.

    #9@LynchMob: Cool. FJ also had some good stuff on Moorad today.

    #16@krs1: Welcome back, dude. Good to “see” ya!

    #17@Zagz: For my money, it makes more sense to judge the man by what his teams actually accomplished than by what might have happened given an alternate reality.

  21. #4@Phantom: I’d say it’s definitely a PR success. New owner replacing Moores who has been a lightning rod of criticism and Alderson, who as TW pointed out has not been a good spokesperson, leaving should create some solid goodwill or at least temper the large amount of ill will which has built up.

  22. I’m pleased to see an end to the purgatory. Hopefully the agreement between Moores and Moorad allows the club to get back to the business of building a winning organization.

    While I admire Alderson, and have been impressed with him the couple of times I’ve had the honor of conversing with him, he doesn’t have a monopoly on intelligence in MLB. Moorad and co. are smart, successful people, and I’ve got confidence in them.

    If nothing else, this provides several new candidates to write the foreword for the 2010 Ducksnorts Annual.

    KRS1, welcome back. We need to get Lynch out to SD this summer, so that you, Geoff, and I (mostly me) can terrorize him for a game or two. My season tix seats have improved, and I intend to share the good fortune with my Ducksnorts cohorts. Geoff, Kris… batting cages soon?

  23. #20@Geoff Young: Then I’m sure you are against adjusting for park effects too, as that is the same as trying to determine what someone would do in an alternate reality. :) I’m just adjusting for division realignments.

    #19@ Who can say what would have happen if Ray Kroc lived. Of course the Padres have had the most winning seasons under Moores, he is also the person who owned the team the longest. Not really a fair argument there either. What makes him the best owner in team history? Kroc saved the team for San Diego. If no Kroc, no Padres. Single handedly saving the team is something that earns you the title of best owner in my book.

  24. I may be in the minority but I’ll miss Alderson. I think he had a definitive plan and had the organization going in the right direction (2008 aside).

  25. #22@Lance Richardson: I actually find the Moorad group intriguing. I like the fact that he’s worked the business from the players’ end and that he seems to surround himself with talented people. I need to study his tendencies and track record a little more, but I like what I’m seeing so far.

    #23@Zagz: Park effects have some utility, so I have no problem using them. I don’t really see a point in “adjusting” for realignment.

    As for best owner title, I won’t take a side on that one, but I will ask whether you (and this is an open question for anyone) think the Padres would have survived in San Diego under Werner. Could an argument be made that Moores saved the team as well?

  26. #25@Geoff Young: It’s possible that the Padres could have moved after Werner, but that has been a threat more than a reality in the last 30 years. The Expos/Marlins/Nationals saga is the only time it happened in that period, despite threats of contraction and other nonsense intended to blackmail the public into footing the bill for new ballparks. Even the Expos might not have moved if they hadn’t been owned by a man whose moral bankruptcy makes John Moores’ financial shenanigans look like a kid grabbing an extra dollar bill in a game of monopoly.

  27. #20@Geoff Young: Well, the Royals were certainly a team I had in mind when I wrote “There Are Exceptions”. I remember being amazed at how good they were at such an early age. But overall, if you look at the 8 expansion teams of the 1960s, they usually weren’t contending for the playoffs in their first 8-10 seasons.
    1969-1980; 12 seasons; 1-.500+; 0 playoffs
    1981-1994; 14 seasons; 8-.500+; 1 playoffs
    1995-2008; 14 seasons; 6-.500+, 4 playoffs
    Also, I came up with 9 seasons prior to ’95 that were .500 or better.
    If you are excluding the 1982-83 seasons, that would be 7 seasons. Does .500+ mean “500 or better” or does it mean “over 500″ ?
    Of course, there are flaws with judging all seasons based on a .500+ record. As my nephew has pointed out, an 83 win season gets grouped in with a 98 win season.
    Oh well.

  28. #27@parlo: In the chapter on the Toronto Blue Jays in his 1982 Baseball Abstract, Bill James discusses the issue of when an expansion team can’t use that excuse anymore. He basically gives teams 5 years to get their act together.

    Looking at the ’60s, the Senators, Astros, Expos, Padres, and Brewers pretty much stunk for most of their first decade. The Angels, though, won 86 games in their second season; the Mets won the World Series in their eighth; and we’ve already touched on the Royals. In that light, I’m less inclined to cut the Padres as much slack for failing to field a competitor sooner; their status as an expansion team isn’t what kept them from doing a better job through most of the ’70s.

    Yeah, I screwed up in my counting. There should be nine .500 or better seasons in that first group. Thanks.

    As for 83 wins, sometimes (’06 Cardinals) that’s enough to earn yourselves some nice rings. Other times (’01 Mariners), 116 wins doesn’t get you squat. We can choose another arbitrary cutoff and find essentially the same truth.

  29. #17@Zagz: I agree that qualifying for the playoffs has become easier. The NL went from 2 teams out of 12 reaching the playoffs, to 4 teams out of 16.
    1 out of 6 vs. 1 out of 4 teams make the playoffs.
    The NL West went from a 6 team division to a 4, then 5 team division.
    Also, the Braves of the 1990s and 2000s were no longer in their division.
    If we are judging one era against another, and using playoff appearances as a measuring stick, I don’t see how those changes can be ignored. If we look beyond the cheapened currency of reaching the playoffs, we come up with this.

    1969-1980: playoff success, 0 season; pennants,0; 90 wins 0
    1981-1994: playoff success, 1 season; pennants,1; 90 wins 1
    1995-2008: playoff success, 1 season; pennants,1; 90 wins 2

  30. #28@Geoff Young: Yeah, with free agency available as a way for teams to improve themselves, I guess 5 years is an adequate amount of time.
    I am usually more forgiving with the expansion teams of the 1960s, but maybe 10 years is too long of a grace period.

  31. #22@Lance Richardson: I’m going to be down in SD for the May 31st Rock & Roll Marathon … wanna join me, Lance?

    So, I’m interested to go to the game vs Phils on Monday, June 1st … I should be out of my coma by then …

  32. Re: Alternate realities.

    Yes, the 1998 Padres would have finished third in the NL West in the pre-1994 divisional alignment. Atlanta won 106 games, Houston 102, San Diego 98. (That would have been a great race.)

    But the Padres went 9-15 in September. They knew they could slack off, get their rotation ready, etc., because they had such a big lead on the Giants. We don’t know what would have happened in a tighter pennant race. They might have played better, might not have. Atlanta and Houston won their divisions by even bigger margins. They might have played better, might not have. It would have been a different season.

    Under the old alignment, the Cubs would have won the East with 90 wins.

    In reality, the Padres beat two 100-win teams to reach the World Series, where they lost to arguably the best team in baseball history. It’s hard to punch holes in that season.

    A few years later, Petco was built. That’s another thing Moores accomplished. Well, he and the tax payers.

  33. #32@Kevin: Imagine the bidding on Randy Johnson in 98 in the old system, assuming the Padres, Braves, and Astros had all been as strong as they were in reality. 3 NL West teams barreling toward 100 wins and a Cy Young pitcher on the table.

  34. #22@Lance Richardson:

    Batting cages, baseball… Yeah, you know I’m in!

  35. Bye-Bye to our $3.15M Bushbaby. It would seem (from the article) that he has had more than one bar-room altercation. I didn’t know that. The Pad’s have DFA’d him. Towers says we might be able to sign him to a minor league contract if no one picks him up but I think that is pretty doubtful.